Saturday, 18 September 2021

Slovakian Acquisition of Hotel Trakoscan Now in Final Phases

September the 18th, 2021 - The Slovakian acquisition of Hotel Trakoscan in continental Croatia has finally reached its final phases, one step closer to the company taking full possession of the facility.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, two of the three large tourism components from the bankruptcy estate of Varazdin's Coning, which were sold as part of this bankruptcy procedure, can be said to have ended up in the portfolio of the same buyer, the Zagreb company Adriatic Tourist Resorts, owned by JS Capital Management from Bratislava, Slovakia.

The Zelena punta apartment complex (Kukljica) on the island of Ugljan, has already been taken over by ATR for around 26.5 million kuna, and now the same is about to unfold for Hotel Trakoscan, while possible Slovakian interest in Hotel Pagus is currently unknown. However, according to the latest AFS, ATR wrote off investments close to 2 million kuna for the purchase of the Pagus hotel, which failed to materialise in the end.

In total, the Kukljica apartment complex was estimated to stand at 37.57 million kuna, while the estimated value for Hotel Trakoscan and the surrounding land was 55.27 million kuna.

Currently, the acquisition of Hotel Trakoscan is in its final phase and the company in question is one step closer to taking possession, with this very attractive piece of real estate being accompanied by the necessary form of establishing a lien due to the closure of financing from the new owner - through a loan.

The buyer of ATR, Coning's creditor, is financing the purchase of Hotel Trakoscan with credit funds, and the loan was obtained from the Slovak company Prime Tourist Resorts, which in mid-2020 transferred its stake to JS Capital Management.

After the hotel was awarded in favour of ATR for a massive price tag of 29.055 million kuna, ie, after the appeal procedure initiated by the buyer to resolve the issue of the difference for which they were exempted from paying the purchase price, the amount of 27.855 million kuna realised through a Slovak loan was finally confirmed.

As a result, a contract on the establishment of a lien on the aforementioned property and its surrounding land has been concluded over recent days, the Varazdin Commercial Court announced.

In the bankruptcy of the Varazdin company Coning, sales for Hotel Pagus are still expected to continue, with a value estimated at 45.87 million kuna, while the conclusion on the sale sets an initial value of 49 million kuna.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Croatia-Slovakia Scientific Cooperation: Conference in Zadar Continues Academic Friendship

June 30, 2021 - In 2019, an agreement was reached on the start of the Croatia-Slovakia scientific cooperation. The June 18 conference held at the University of Zadar presented the current progress in that agreement.

Along with countries such as Serbia, Slovenia, and Northern Macedonia, Croatia is a south Slavic country. The former Socialistic Federation of Yugoslavia got its name because of southern Slavs, a branch of Slavs, ethnolinguistic groups that arrived in Europe along with many other groups in what history remembers as the „Migration Period“, when Europe was dominated by the Western Roman Empire.

Other Slavic countries include Russia, Poland, Bulgaria (also south-slave, but not part of Yugoslavia), Czech Republic, Ukraine, Belarus, and also West Slavic country, Slovakia.

Sharing ethical and cultural heritage and diplomatic relations (formed on March 1, 1993), saw the intellectual cooperation with Slovakia raised on a high level and produced so much material, it required an entire scientific conference.

As reported by Ivo Pilar Social Research website, June 18 saw Zadar University host a conference „Intellectual relations of Croatia and Slovakia“, prepared by Slovakian-Croatian Board for Humanistic Sciences lead b professor Martin Homza from Comenius University in Bratislava and Ivo pilar Social Research Institute headmaster dr. Željko Holjevac.

The conference was supposed to be held last year but was canceled due to coronavirus, and the 2021 edition was managed in a hybrid model of the event, mixing live and online ways for participants to meet. Twelve Slovakian and Croatian scientists reported on the theme, and key Slovakian and Croatian players on the subjects of education attended and made speeches at the opening ceremony. This includes professor Zvjezdan Penezić, Zadar University's vice-chancellor. Peter Susko, Slovakian Ambassador in Croatia, Marián Zouhar, dean of the Bratislava's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Staša Skenžić from Croatian Ministry of Science and Education, as well as Martina Klofáčova from the Slovakian Ministry of Science and Education.

„Slovakian-Croatian Board for Humanity Sciences is active since 2019 as part of the program of collaboration between two ministries for science and education with the goal of developing bilateral scientific and educating activities in the field of history, linguistics, Latinism, art history, ethnology, and archaeology“, informed Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute about the program goals.

Is there a Croatian diaspora in Slovakia? Yes. You can learn more about the Croatian diaspora on our TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 19 April 2021

Virtual Office Croatia Signs Agreement with Slovakian Embassy

April the 19th, 2021 - Virtual Office Croatia (Virtual Office Hrvatska) has expanded the list of foreign embassies they work with with the signing of a contract with the Slovakian Embassy in Croatia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, Virtual Office Croatia has signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Croatia, thus expanding the list of embassies they work with, as well as with countries whose entrepreneurs are brought to the Croatian and European markets.

Virtual Office Croatia has thus become the main partner of the Embassy of the Slovak Republic for their companies expanding into the Republic of Croatia.

"The embassy automatically connects them with us and we continue to do business. So far, they've cooperated with the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), but because of our innovative approach, they turned to us,'' explained Matija Fontana, the director of Virtual Office Croatia, which has been offering services to both local and foreign clients since back in 2015 from its headquarters in virtual offices.

He added that the Slovaks recognised their Virtual Office concept as a modern and business friendly way of entering the not only the market of the Republic of Croatia, but that of the entire immediate region. Slovakia, on the other hand, wants to help its citizens invest here in Croatia, and Virtual Office Croatia, as a partner and as a private company, works hard to bring investors to Croatia.

Slovakia isn't the only country with which it has started cooperation, and so far it has achieved successful working relationships with the Embassies of Indonesia, India, Australia, Austria, Germany, USA and more.

"We've been proactive towards some countries, and some others have been the ones to contact us," explained Fontana, adding that they not only work with embassies as intermediaries for their entrepreneurs but also with foreign companies directly, allowing entrepreneurs operating outside of the EU to enter the bloc's valuable single market through Croatia.

The director also explained how the current coronavirus pandemic has contributed to the actualisation of the concept of a virtual office, and as he pointed out in an interview last year, working from home has been actively enrouaged throughout the pandemic, which resulted in cancelling the lease of physical business premises and switching to more economical and flexible business. He pointed out that virtual offices aren't just a trend today, but a response to the changing work habits that have occurred due to advances in technology and digitalisation.

"We're contacted by many foreigners who have opened companies here in Croatia and started businesses here, and what we primarily have to thank for this is mostly the sort of branding done by successful domestic companies such as Rimac, Infobip and Nanobit. You wouldn't believe how famous these companies are abroad, people who haven't heard of Croatia have still heard of Rimac, for example the Japanese come to Croatia and tell us that they want to do business in the country where Rimac also operates and that's a really big thing. The best thing in our whole story is that we enable them to not have to physically remain here in Croatia, and all the resources we use in business are Croatian resources, so people can stay abroad and yet still invest capital in Croatia,'' emphasised Fontana.

''Opening a bank account for foreigners should be simplified''

When asked what makes it difficult and easier for them to do business, they say that everything depends on the project, if, for example, construction projects are in question, the procedures can become more complicated. They also note that it is no longer much of a problem to open a company in Croatia because such things can now be done relatively quickly. However, there are other problems.

"Currently, our biggest problem is that banks are inflexible and take up a lot of our time in checking our clients. Clients who come to Croatia can de facto open a company in a few days, but a big barrier appears when they need to open a bank account, unfortunately clients have to come to Croatia several times because of that, and we know how complicated the situation is with travel and border crossings at the minute. but I don't think that's solely a Croatian issue, but one faced by the whole of the EU,'' explained Fontana.

He added that it should be easier to open a bank account, especially for clients who come from, for example, secure and safe countries such as Japan, Australia and the like.

"Perhaps it would be good to have a ''list of safe countries'' from which investors and entrepreneurs could more easily open a bank account and start their businesses in Croatia. On the other hand, certain clients tell us that it is easy for them to do business in Croatia, with good information and logistical support, some projects are even easier to implement than they are in the rest of Europe because the entry costs are much lower here,'' concluded Virtual Office Croatia's director.

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Wednesday, 24 March 2021

EuroNight Train: Slovaks, Austrians Introduce Line to Split, Tickets On Sale

March the 24th, 2021 - Another boost for Croatian tourism for 2021 despite the continued uncertain situation dominated by the pandemic as the Austrians and the Slovaks introduce the EuroNight train line to the Dalmatian city of Split.

Air traffic continues to have the biggest question mark hanging over its head as Croatian tourism for the summer season this year hangs in the balance with the epidemiological situation in Croatia and abroad being the deciding factor. As a result, trains are looking ever more favourable for those needing some vitamin D and an Adriatic swim this summer.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) in cooperation with Slovak Railways (ZSSK) will introduce a new night train line in the summer season of 2021 on the route Bratislava - Vienna - Graz - Split, according to the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) in Austria, Branimir Toncinic.

The first overnight train, more specifically the EuroNight train, should start running on June the 18th this year, and the current plan is for it to run twice a week on the same route until mid-September 2021. The price of EuroNight train tickets from the Austrian capital of Vienna to Split, which can already be purchased, is 29.90 euros for seats, and 69.90 for beds.

"We're pleased that Austrian Railways have connected Vienna with Split, which allows our Austrian guests to travel while respecting the principles of sustainable development and climate change, which are extremely important topics in the Austrian market. For us in Croatia, as the second most sought-after tourist destination for Austrian tourists, this new line is of great importance for achieving even better tourist results from the Austrian market.

It's worth mentioning that the most visited Croatian destinations by Austrian guests back in 2019 and even in 2020 were the regions of Istria, Kvarner and Zadar, and with the establishment of this summer railway line on the route Vienna-Graz-Split, we can see the additional growth potential of tourist traffic from Austria to Split-Dalmatia,'' said Toncinic, noting that on the aforementioned EuroNight train line, there is a possibility of transporting your own car or motorcycle.

Travel organiser ÖBB Rail Tours also offers packages that include a return ticket for the train between Vienna and Split and a one-week stay in an apartment in the centre of Split at a very reasonable starting price of 331 euros.

For more on travel and border crossing rules, testing centres and all you need to know about current coronavirus information specific to Croatia, bookmark this page.

Monday, 28 September 2020

Time To Reflect, As Loyalty Not Luxury Saves 2020 Croatia Tourist Season

September 28, 2020 – The tail end of 2020's unparalleled summer offers opportunity for pause, contemplation and appreciation, as it's loyal and not luxury guests that have saved this year's Croatia tourist season.

In this day and age, things always have to get better. There's no room to sit still. Life without improvement is deemed a failure. Nowhere is this more true than the Croatia tourist season.

The numbers of overnight stays in the Croatia tourist season sometimes seem to be the only measure by which its success is judged. Year after year, the numbers must rise. Any decrease is unthinkable. At the same time, hungry eyes still want more. Some want to reposition themselves. A new class of guest is wanted, from faraway nations. They must be of a better quality. They must stay longer, in more expensive dwellings. They must spend more.

Incredible initiatives are undertaken to turn this want into a reality. But, at the end of the 2020 Croatia tourist season, perhaps it's time to pause and reflect. For this year, it is undoubtedly loyalty and not luxury that's saved the Croatia tourist season.

In the year the coronavirus pandemic hit, arrivals by charter plane and cruise ship were seriously curtailed. So much for the flying visits of premium guests from far-flung lands. Instead, the tourists who came were from much closer to Croatia.

The English language that most on the coast are so familiar with was this year useless. On the beaches of Istria and northern Dalmatia, it was Slovenian, Polish, Czech, German, Slovakian and Italian that was heard. The packed bars of Makarska echoed with the familiar call of 'Đe si, bolan?' (where are you, bro? - in Bosnian dialect). Many of those who came drove to Croatia. And many do so every year.

1024px--Sharing-_Friday_night_pizza_(17405004226).jpg© Jeremy Segrott

Sighs and light-hearted jokes about some of these guests persist in some places. “That family come every year, but they only ever order one pizza to share between the four of them.” The choice of footwear of some German-speaking and Czech visitors frequently draws chuckles, in particular, the classic sock and sandal combo. But, just where would the 2020 Croatia tourist season have been without the 60,000 Czech and Slovak visitors who this year arrived by train?

Just two days ago, Jutarnji reported on phenomenal numbers of Polish visitors this year. Would anyone else really have taken the place of the returning family of four sharing a pizza? Just what would the season in Makarska have looked like without bolan?

Croatians are famously very appreciative hosts. On the ground, there's no doubt that such loyal guests are warmly welcomed and thanked each year by accommodation renters, restaurateurs and others. They greet returning visitors with smiles of familiarity and reserve for them their favourite place. In September 2020, gratitude to such guests was echoed by The Croatian National Tourist Board as they launched a new campaign 'Thank you', directed at the tourists who this year chose Croatia.

Perhaps it is time to ensure that this gratitude extends into any grand new initiatives for growth in the Croatia tourist season? Such loyal guests should not be taken for granted, nor forgotten.

Initiative within the Croatia tourist sector is vital. The unlocking of continental Croatia's potential is simply a must. That too of the Dalmatian hinterland and inland Istria. The exploitation of world-class Croatian assets such as nature, agriculture and health and wellness services are also perfectly on-point. The desire to attract a better class of bigger-spending visitor to luxury holidays on the Croatian coast should surely be a lower priority. After all, eyes that covet can all too frequently fail to appreciate that for which they should already be thankful.

SANDALS.jpg© Oddman47

Lead image adapted from an original photograph by © Marco Verch

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Saturday, 6 June 2020

Slovakian TV Reporters Praise Vir as Safe and Desirable Destination

As Morski writes on the 5th of June, 2020, reporters from the Slovakian television station RTVS came to Vir where they worked on a story of the island of Vir, referring to it as a a safe and desirable tourist destination.

In epidemiological circumstances that mostly prevent Slovakian citizens from leaving their country and due to the extremely strict rules when it comes to social distancing and behaviour in Slovakia itself, the trip to Croatia for the RTVS journalist team was like winning a raffle, and staying in Vir was a breath of not only fresh air but of long-awaited freedom of movement.

''Our colleagues in Slovakia are jealous of us because of this trip. They keep asking how it is here, and we tell everyone that Vir is really beautiful,'' say reporter Andrej Bálint and cameraman Róbert Beňo, who spent the whole of Thursday filming the island with conversations with Vir locals about the tourist offer on the island and especially the situation with the coronavirus pandemic.

They interviewed the Deputy Mayor of Vir and the Commander of the Vir Civil Protection Headquarters Antonio Vucetic, who introduced the Slovakian journalists to the fact that there were no cases of infected people on the island during the coronavirus crisis, while the director of the Vir Tourist Board, Srdjan Liveric, recommended Vir to Slovakian holidaymakers as a safe and traditionally friendly tourist destination.

''Croatia is the most popular tourist destination for Slovaks, so we were most interested in the current security situation in Croatia. We have very strict measures in place due to coronavirus, they're almost prison-like, but we expect their gradual easing and the possibility of us being able to go away on holiday. It seems that many Slovaks will stay in Slovakia this summer, but for those who do plan to travel, we want to explore safe destinations. Everyone in Slovakia is living in anticipation of the easing of the measures,'' explained Bálint.

The island of Vir is the only Croatian tourist destination that the Slovak journalists will visit during this trip for their field research, but it isn't a mere coincidence. During the filming of a television report about Slovak women living outside their homeland, in Italy, Sweden, Spain and Croatia, the story of a Slovakian woman and well-known blogger Miriam Kelecic was especially interesting to the television reporters. She introduced Vir as a safe and beautiful destination, so Bálint and Beňo readily responded. This was their first visit to the island, and it was not spoiled even by the blowing of a strong southerly wind.

''The ambience on the island is beautiful, and the sea is especially gorgeous. I've never seen such a clear sea,'' said Bálint who was delighted to come to Vir.

''I once visited Dubrovnik with my family when I was a small child, so I guess you can sort of say that this is actually my first time in Croatia. I really like Vir, there are a lot of beautiful shots to be taken from the landscape,'' added Beňo. Full of impressions from the short trip due to the obligation to return to Slovakia within the given 48 hours, Andrej and Róbert pointed out that the message they will send out to their viewers and compatriots will be a positive one.

''Croatia is a safe destination, so our message will be that Slovaks have no reason to fear about going on holiday here. Vir and Croatia are certainly our choice,'' the reporters readily concluded.

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